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Boise State roster preview: Defensive line, All-Americans, and Shakespeare

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The Bronco defensive line is one of the best in college football and would probably be one of the best in the AFC West. The Broncos can go 10-deep at the position and still be better than most of the teams they face. To preview this position, I may as well embed videos of fireworks and bald eagles and explosions and death metal. I chose words instead. Read them after the jump, and share your thoughts on the Bronco D-line in the comments.

You are reading a position preview for the upcoming Boise State football season. Enjoy yourself immensely.

Position overview

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Shea McClellin          
Billy Winn          
Chase Baker          
Tyrone Crawford          
Jarrell Root          
Mike Atkinson Mike Atkinson        
Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe      
Kharyee Marshall Kharyee Marshall Kharyee Marshall      
Tyler Horn Tyler Horn Tyler Horn Tyler Horn Tyler Horn  
Nick Alexander Nick Alexander Nick Alexander      
Greg Grimes Greg Grimes        
Darren Koontz Darren Koontz        
Justin Jungblut Justin Jungblut Justin Jungblut      
David Cushing David Cushing David Cushing David Cushing    
Jeff Worthy Jeff Worthy Jeff Worthy Jeff Worthy Jeff Worthy  
Samuel Ukwuachu Samuel Ukwuachu Samuel Ukwuachu Samuel Ukwuachu Samuel Ukwuachu  
Robert Ash Robert Ash Robert Ash Robert Ash Robert Ash

Projected starters are in bold. Projected redshirts are in italics

What are the odds ... ?

I have come up with a handful of scenarios that may befall the Broncos at the defensive line position this fall. OBNUG's Nick and I will assign a prediction in the form of a percentage based on the likelihood that each scenario may happen. Everyone confused enough? Good. Let's begin.

A Boise State defensive lineman wins conference DPOY honors

Kevan: I am fairly certain that the DPOY will be TCU linebacker Tank Carder no matter how poorly Carder plays this year. It is his destiny. He must appease the armband gods. The only way Carder doesn't win is if Billy Winn or Shea McClellin lead the nation in sacks and Boise State's defense thoroughly dominates in most every statistical category. And now that I put it that way, I give the Bronco D-line a 35 percent chance at DPOY. Waffling! I don't even remember that TCU guy's name any more!


Nick: While the defensive line is amazing, could voters view them as a group and therefore split the vote? That or Tank Carder gets it because everyone has already decided to vote for him like you said, Kevan. I'll put it at a modest 25 percent because I still think the MWC secretly hates Boise State.

A Boise State backup earns All-America honors like Tyrone Crawford did last year

Kevan: This year's Tyrone Crawford is Jarrell Root, speaking strictly roster-wise. There is a 15 percent chance Root earns AA. He has never been a sackmeister during his career, and you have to wreak some havoc for the Americans to consider you to their teams. Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe and Mike Atkinson get the same odds from me. They are good, but they are defensive tackles, and defensive tackles are the extras in the Disney movie of college football.


Nick: Not only are the front four great, but the line is deep as well so it's very possible that a backup could do a repeat this year. Especially if they are playing against tired offensive linemen and wreak havoc in passing situations. I'll put it at 30 percent.

The D-line averages three sacks per game

Kevan: Absolutely, positively, 99 percent going to happen. Even if Boise State takes a goose egg one or two times, the Broncos will have sacks o' plenty in the coffers after playing teams like UNLV and New Mexico. 

Nick: Are we talking just the line or the defense? The defense averaged 3.7 sacks per game last year. If we remove the linebackers (Percy, Tevis, Hout, etc.) and secondary (Venable, Taylor, etc.), then it drops to 2.6 sacks per game. So, as a defense, I put the chances at 95 percent. With just the linemen, I drop the odds to 25 percent.

Completely arbitrary rankings

Rank the following Billys based on whatever criteria you deem important: Billy Winn, Billy Joel, Billy Blanks, Billy Graham, Billy Shakespeare.

  1. Joel
  2. Winn
  3. Graham
  4. Blanks
  5. Shakespeare

Kevan: My rankings are based on future earnings. Billy Joel can wear cash as an undershirt from here to eternity with the royalties from "Piano Man." Billy Winn won't be too far behind once he is an NFL All-Pro. 

  1. Winn
  2. Blanks 
  3. Joel
  4. Graham
  5. Shakespeare

Nick: My rankings are based on defensive line production, real or perceived. And yes, I believe Billy Graham would have kicked Shakespeare's butt in the trenches.


Bold predictions - Fear their boldness!

Our powers combine to come up with the following bold predictions. Feel free to come back here after the season to see how we did. 

  • Boise State has three D-linemen finish with 10 sacks or more: McClellin, Winn, and team-high Crawford
  • Chase Baker earns third-team All-Mountain West honors. I burn something to the ground (TBD).
  • Tyler Horn plays significant minutes against Georgia as the fourth defensive end
  • You get asked at least 50 times who Tyler Horn is at your Georgia viewing party
  • Jarrell Root grows a lucky bowl cut
  • Mike Atkinson finishes a full season as an eligible member of the football team
  • Billy Winn is a first-team All-America
  • The MWC will make the entire line wear red stripes in the middle of their helmets like city-league football did to the heavyweight kids in sixth grade
  • We will all know Greg Grimes' name by the end of the year

Your turn

Would Billy Graham really eat Billy Shakespeare's lunch on the D-line? Any chance Billy Winn or Shea McClellin top Tank Carder for DPOY honors? Who is your favorite D-line backup? Share your thoughts in the comments.